Many people set up new websites expecting to see an instant flood of traffic. However, it takes some time for a site to get indexed by Google. It takes even more time for a website to become established and gain a high ranking.
Once Google has indexed your pages, they will appear on the Google search engine results pages (SERPs). If your content sticks on the back pages of Google, though, you may need to put some more effort into optimizing your content for Google.
If you have targeted keywords for which competition is low, achieving a high Google ranking is easier than you might have thought. However, people often some common mistakes that prevent web pages from earning a decent rank. Here are ten of the search engine optimization (SEO) mistakes that will reduce your website’s chances of making it to page one of Google.
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Choosing the Wrong Keywords
It is generally best to target keywords that are very specific to what you are selling or promoting. If you choose broad, generic keywords, you will face high competition. You might also attract the wrong audience. Suppose you are an accountant, for example. There are thousands of certified accountants in the country advertising their services on the web. However, there are far fewer people promoting accounting services for small businesses in Madison, Wisconsin. So, it will help you rank on Google if you choose descriptive long-tail keywords rather than short, generic phrases that many other people will have used.
Using Poor-Quality Content
You need a decent amount of content to get your site ranked. However, it would be best to avoid taking shortcuts with your content creation. Hiring low-cost content writers or using content spinning software will speed up the content generation process, but visitors to your site will pick up on the grammatical errors and the low quality of this type of content. Google is also getting better at determining whether written content is designed to be human-readable or merely exists for SEO purposes. So, poor-quality content could damage your SEO efforts.
Over-Optimizing Single Keywords
Optimizing content for a chosen keyword is crucial to get your website pages ranked on Google. However, it will make your content difficult to read if you over-optimize. Keyword stuffing can also get your site penalized by Google. The optimum density for a single keyword on content is around 3-5%. A common mistake that people make is they focus on only one keyword per page. However, there are usually several variations of key phrases that could be used. For example, car repair could also be auto repair. A roofing contractor can be a roofer, a residential roof specialist, and a roof repair company. Using variations of keywords will help you rank for more keywords and reinforce your primary keyword’s ranking.
Backlinks are a crucial factor in the ranking of a website. However, it would be unwise to buy cheap backlinks, because doing so may get your site penalized. The backlink services you see for sale on sites like Fiverr are usually links that are generated by robots. These mass-produced links may give your website a temporary lift in Google ranking. But Google penalizes sites that attempt to raise their rank artificially. If you want to pay to have your Google rankings improved, you would be better off spending your money on a reputable SEO company.
Not Using Optimized Headings
Search engines use headings and subheadings to decipher the topic of a page. So, you can improve your search engine ranking by using titles that include your main keyword and variations of that phrase. Headings and subheadings also break up your text and make it easier to read.
Insufficient internal Linking
Internal links make it easier for visitors to navigate your site and encourage users to stay on your site for longer. Internal links also help search engines discover your content, and so help with your SEO efforts. When you create internal links, avoid using phrases like “click here.” Instead, use your keywords in your anchor text. The anchor text of internal links is a further opportunity to confirm the topic of each of your pages to the search engines. Multiple internal links to a page also tell search engines which of your pages are the most important.
Not Optimizing for Mobile Devices
Failing to consider mobile users in your SEO strategy will harm your Google rankings. According to Statista.com, more than 50% of web traffic now comes from mobile devices, and Google now favors mobile-friendly websites. A mobile-friendly site must be responsive, and it must be fast to load. Your site will also need to be easy for mobile users to navigate. You can test how well your pages are optimized for mobile devices with the Google mobile-friendly test. Even better, try using your site on your phone and see how easy it is to use.
Focusing too Much on Text Content
Text is not the only thing you can use to rank on Google. Videos, infographics, images, and podcasts can also be used to improve your website’s ranking. Many people prefer visual content to written content, which is probably why videos often rank higher on Google than written content. So, rather than competing with purely text-based content, differentiate your site from the competition by including more visual content.
Using Short, Generic Page Titles
It will help attract visitors to your site if your page titles convey a message rather than merely stating a generic term. So, think about what people will be searching for when you are crafting your titles and headings. Try to avoid generic phrases that everyone else in your niche will be using and avoid duplicating headings. Suppose you were selling a wireless burglar alarm system, for example. In that case, a product page title of “Wireless Burglar Alarm” would be too generic. And, if you sell several different alarm systems, you will have to duplicate the title. It would be better to sell the product within the tile with phrases like “Easy to Install Premium Wireless Home Burglar Alarm.”
Failing to Use Analytics
If you are only using analytics to check daily visitor numbers, you are missing a trick. Google Analytics can also provide valuable insights into how each page of your content is performing. If you analyze traffic and conversions by page, you will discover what type of content brings the best results. Then, you can create more similar pages on different topics.
The above are only some of the most common search engine optimization mistakes. There are more, and Google frequently updates its algorithms, meaning that further changes may be needed to rank your website. Targeting highly focused keywords, producing high-quality content, and tracking results with Google Analytics will help. But, if you don’t have time to develop and manage an SEO strategy, it might be best to hire an SEO company to get your site a high ranking on Google.